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Old Bright Angel Trail
13 Photosets

2019-09-28  
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mini location map2011-09-17
25 by photographer avatarazdesertfather
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Rim to RimNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 17 2011
azdesertfather
Hiking27.75 Miles 6,500 AEG
Hiking27.75 Miles   12 Hrs   10 Mns   2.60 mph
6,500 ft AEG   1 Hour   30 Mns Break
 no routes
After many discussions about our trip back on the Old Bright Angel versus the North Kiabab, Joe and I decide to go back via the Old BA while the other 3 take the North Kiabab. Starting from the North Kiabab around 6:25am, we started up Ken Patrick (a climb of about 500 feet), then dropped down at the little marker that says "Old Bright Angel Trail: Unimproved Wilderness Trail" (because of the ups and downs on the Old BA, there is an additional 500 foot gain). For the most part you can follow a much more faint trail than the North Kiabab, but with a GPS and good route-finding skills it's not too much trouble.

There are two waterfalls on this trip; the first is more seasonal at (N36 13.080, W112 01.199) and the other probably flows more year-round at (N36 12.438, W112 01.500). At both of these spots, staying on route can be a little tricky. After the second waterfall it's easy to think you should keep heading down, but that steep hill next to you is what you need to go up and over to stay on trail.

Be prepared for light bushwhacking and a good bit of route finding going down this trail. Near the top, a lot of oak bushes are on the trail, along with some downed trees. Farther down you run into some manzanita and a few other bushes, but nothing that is going to draw blood (at least it didn't me, Joe was another story. ;) )

The biggest route-finding challenge is when you finally descend into the Bright Angel Creek. It seems to make no sense. Luckily, on a tall rock at the edge of the creek where we came down, we saw a cairn on top of it. We boulder hopped across the creek in reeds and managed to pick up the trail on the other side, only losing the trail once after that for a few minutes before following a decent trail the rest of the way down. The trail ends up coming out and connecting to the North Kiabab next to a large tree that is near the south side of the bridge you cross on the North Kiabab just before reaching the pumphouse/water station.

We managed to finish the Ken Patrick/Old BA in 5 1/4 hours, did a high 5 and then started booking it down to Phantom, hoping to catch up with the other three guys (we never did!). We took a break at Cottonwood Campground and watched for a few minutes a couple of guys chainsawing down the two big cottonwoods that hung over the picnic tables there (they say they are rotting from the inside and posed a danger of falling at some point), then headed down to Phantom Ranch for lunch.

We left Phantom Ranch at 2:20pm and started up the Bright Angel. Joe was really hoping to catch the guys and I couldn't keep up with him at that point, so we parted ways about a mile before Indian Garden. On the way up I saw a boy scout who looked to be a preteen hiking up totally by himself ( :o ) and a young guy helping his girlfriend up after injuring her knee. Nice to see 3 young deer on the trail between the 3mi and 1.5mi resthouses, they didn't seem to be that concerned I was there but still didn't let me get too close. Topped out at 6:35pm, 40 minutes behind Joe and 2 hours behind the other guys.

Got home at 12:30am the next day, 48 1/2 hours after leaving home for a R2R2R. Woke up the next morning feeling :y: !
_____________________
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." — Henry David Thoreau
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azdesertfather's
126 Photosets

  2014-02-08
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  2013-06-15
  2013-04-13
  2013-04-13
  2013-04-06
  2012-12-08
  2012-11-30
  2012-11-09
  2012-04-24
  2012-03-31
  2012-02-04
  2011-12-29
  2011-12-17
  2011-11-20
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  2011-10-15
  2011-10-09
  2011-09-24
  2011-09-17
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